Monday, April 07, 2008

Diary Entry: 20 Years Later - KU Wins the Championship

I've been waiting for this moment for 20 years. I didn't know it would take this long and be this elusive. The Jayhawks won the NCAA basketball championship. 20 years after they won it when I was a fifth year senior, a night for the ages, and this game, I don't know. Its too early to process all the key moments, but I'm stunned and elated.

I sit here with a can of beer in my home office, while fireworks dot the suburban horizon like its the 4th of July. You should have seen me with the Hawks down by nine with two minutes left. I pulled the hood up over my head by the drawstrings, ignored my dog's nudges to be pet, and watched what I thought was another close but no cigar finish for the Jayhawks. Then we made a free throw, stole the in-bounds play, got lucky when Memphis missed critical free throws, and ultimately with less than 10 seconds, and the game on the line, I told the wife, "Give it to Mario!" He sank the shot and sent the game into overtime. Of course, this was after earlier quotes of "We can't win this way" and "Collins? No! Idiot!". But 20 years from now, I'll choose to remember the Mario quote.

I love the NCAA tournament. 64 teams (okay, technically 65 teams) begin, and all but one of them end their season with a loss. One team rides a six game winning streak to the national championship, and tonight our team won it all in dramatic fashion. Yes, it's all about me. Thank me very much and if the unthinkable happens, if Bill Self chooses to return to Oklahoma State, then I'm available to coach the Jayhawks, for the next 20 years if need be, until we claim our next title, and tonight its easy to say it won't be our last.

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